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The Re-Christening of America

The American future and the Jewish future, including that of our Jewish third-graders today and tomorrow, depend on what we do right now.
Jens Grabenstein/Flickr Commons
Jens Grabenstein/Flickr Commons
Rabbi Aaron Starr serves as spiritual leader of Congregation Shaarey Zedek, and has been part of the CSZ family since 2008. A featured blogger on Times of Israel, he is the author of the book Taste of Hebrew (URJ Press), a past contributor to the Journal of Conservative Judaism, as well as numerous on-line publications. Rabbi Starr sits on the Boards of Directors for the Jewish Family Service (JFS) of Metro Detroit and the Jewish

When I was in third grade in Troy Public Schools, my teacher invited us to join her in a weekly, afterschool Bible study she was to lead. I came home and shared with my parents my desire to join all my friends in this club. The next day we heard from our teacher that afterschool Bible study was canceled.  

I later came to learn that, angered upon hearing my announcement, my mother paid a successful visit to the school principal. In America, she explained, there is a separation between church and state.

There is a good chance that if my third-grade incident occurred in today’s America, the principal would reject my mother’s concerns about her Jewish son feeling excluded from the overtly Christian Bible study group. After all, according to recent decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court, what we as Jews perceive as an American value of separation between church and state amounts for our more conservative neighbors to an attack on their freedom of religion.”

Read the full op-ed in the Detroit Jewish News

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